My friends and family have noticed that over the years the tone of my voice has changed; it has become a little more hoarse or, to my ears, sometimes even more coarse.
One of my strategies of living with this serious disease is to develop a change in perception, which includes using humour. If you don't laugh, you cry. So, let's just call my voice sexier. (Yeah, right, Marianna!)
In my last A Rheumful of Tips post entitled A Better Mouse for RA Hands, I listed one of the reasons why I preferred to write, rather than dictate my posts. While dictating a post, the additional talking that is required to repeat, edit, repeat and edit some more, is not only frustrating, but it can lead to a sore throat. If I speak too much, I begin to sound like Kim Carnes when she sings Bette Davis Eyes...without the ability to hold a tune!
Although I haven't received an official diagnosis, I suspect the culprit is cricoarytenoid arthritis (CA). I'll ask my rheumatologist during my next visit.
CA impacts the two small joints at the back of the larynx which are located between the cricoid and arytenoid cartilage. These joints open, close and tighten the vocal cords for speech and breathing. People with CA may experience hoarseness, pain in the ears or a sense of pharyngeal fullness when they speak and swallow. At times, breathing may become laboured. This is called dyspnoea (a new term for me).
I wonder if this is more prevalent amongst those of us who are RA long-haulers.
If you suspect you have CA, do bring up your concerns with your rheumatologist.
RA - Not Just in the Joints
Cricoarytenoid arthritis is another possible manifestation of RA, a disease that affects not only the joints but the tendons, ligaments, muscles, respiratory system, circulatory system, eyes and possibly, the ears, too. In French, épuisé is a word that succinctly describes extreme exhaustion, another common side-effect of living life with RA.
A friend recently told me about the grueling side-effects, complete with roving joint pain, that she experienced after her second COVID vaccination. That's a taste of what people who have RA are all too familiar with on a regular basis. If you developed COVID-19 or had vaccine side-effects, perhaps you encountered similar symptoms. If there is any sort of consolation to come out of this pandemic, it's that the heightened focus on immunology might just lead to better treatment, or dare I even hope, a cure for RA.
In the meantime, I'll leave you with a few sexier - if you like that kind of thing - voices than mine: